The Baby Shower is by S E Lynes. She doesn’t know I’m there, watching her in the mirror. She slides her hand under her blouse. And then I see something impossible. She isn’t pregnant… She bursts into my life like a storm, and nothing is the same again. She seems so perfect, with her lilting laugh and her beautiful face. One by one, I watch as my friends fall under her spell. Only I seem to suspect something. Only I see that her smiles don’t reach her cold, furious eyes. And when I’m accused of things I didn’t do, when my home is vandalized, I know she’s behind it. But she only lets her mask slip when no one is looking, so if I say anything, I’ll look crazy.So when the baby shower comes around I’m there, sitting on a velvet sofa in a posh hotel room, surrounded by balloons. We share gifts, we pour small glasses of champagne, and she beams, her bump just visible under her bright red shirt But that afternoon, I finally learn the unbelievable truth.There is no baby…
Harlow looked down at a photo of her victim and couldn’t reconcile it with the body found by the lake. Here was a young and carefree woman, gazing at the camera with her striking emerald green eyes, her long black hair waving in the breeze. But within an instant her future had been extinguished. Harlow had to find out why. When the remains of a young woman are discovered on the edge of Saranac Lake in upstate New York, local law enforcement immediately call Detective Harlow Durant. When she arrives at the scene, she instantly knows this case will get under her skin. Lying just beyond the picturesque lake popular with families are the remains of a victim who has seemingly been burned to death. With very little evidence remaining, Harlow begins scouring missing persons reports. The victim is identified as twenty-six-year-old Ellie Gordon—a fun-loving young woman who worked in the bookstore and enjoyed going out with friends. When her mother comes to ID the body, she reports her daughter’s gold crucifix missing and the hunt begins to locate it and any potential DNA evidence. But as Harlow starts to piece Ellie’s last movements together, another body is found. The victim was killed in exactly the same way and worked with Ellie. Witness statements identify a local man who was obsessed with both women and when Harlow sees video evidence of him pawning the gold necklace, she thinks she has her man. But when he too winds up dead, Harlow has to start over. The only other link to the women is Gavin Croswell, one of the most powerful men in the town. But with a whole host of alibis, pinning the murders on him is almost impossible. With time running out to find the killer before another woman loses her life, the case soon becomes personal when Harlow’s car is violently run off the road. Someone wants to warn her off the case and they will use anything they can to threaten her. Even if it means exposing her own dark secret. Can Harlow confront her demons to save another innocent life from being lost? And just how much is she prepared to sacrifice? The Girls in the Fire is by Dea Poirier.
Pray for Mercy is by D K Hood. Her heart races as a noise from downstairs wakes her. She checks every room in her small home, but it’s not until she returns to the safety of her bedroom does she see movement. She’s not alone. And nobody can help her now. Writing scrawled on the wall of Sheriff Jenna Alton’s office overnight leads her and her deputy David Kane to a secluded house on the outskirts of town. Inside, Jenna is devastated to find a much-loved local resident lying in a pool of blood, stab wounds covering her lifeless body. What monster would attack a defenceless woman living alone? With no trace of the killer at the scene, the deadly message written on Jenna’s door is her only clue. But as the small town grieves, it leads her to a contractor who recently had access to the woman’s home. She races to interview him, only to discover the wreck of a car on a steep mountain road with another dead woman inside. Jenna knows the victims were friends and regularly went to church together. She thinks a twisted killer has been watching them, waiting for the perfect time to strike. But before she can make her next move, one of her own team is found unconscious and covered in the blood of a third female victim—a knife inches away from his hand. Pulse racing, Jenna questions her shaken deputy, who can’t explain why he was in the woman’s house. Could he really be a killer, or is someone playing an evil game? The clock ticks to uncover a dark secret that connects all three victims, but can she work it out before another innocent life is taken?
One Girl Missing is by Carla Kovach. Five-year-old Cally waits in her pretty pink bedroom for the sound of the front door opening and her mother’s sweet voice in the hall. But when the doorbell finally rings, and Cally creeps out of bed to peer through the banister, a large man in uniform is all she sees. Her mother is missing... Teacher Annabel Braddock was last seen drinking at the local pub with her best friend, Jennifer. Witnesses saw tears running down her cheeks, and friends say she was having problems with a colleague at work, and that her marriage had broken down. But as the two women hugged goodbye, neither noticed the car speeding towards them. As the dust settled, Jennifer lay unconscious on the ground and Annabel was nowhere to be seen. She’d never abandon her little girl, so did someone snatch her? As family crowd around Jennifer’s hospital bed, hoping she’ll wake up, police visit Annabel’s home and her inconsolable daughter, Cally, tells them she had seen a man outside staring into her room as she climbed into bed that evening. Was it her childish imagination, or had someone been watching Annabel’s home? When Jennifer finally opens her eyes and tells the police what happened that night, it’s clear there are plenty of people with a reason to harm Annabel. With an unpredictable husband, a colleague who denies harassing her and a neighbour who seems to know her every move, could she be in imminent danger? As the hours turn to days, will little Cally ever see her precious mother again? Or will she be next?
The Party At No.12 is by Kerry Wilkinson. Everyone’s invited. Someone will never leave. In a grand townhouse rented specially for the evening, Hannah beams at her guests under the sparkling chandelier. Her sisters, her mother and aunt, her best friends… although she’ll miss them all so much when she moves away, tonight is about celebrating the happy times and raising a toast to the future. But the next morning, one of the guests is found cold and lifeless in their pristine white bed. Hannah is desperate to call the police. After all, it must have been an accident. Perhaps too much wine, on a night where emotions were running high. But it soon becomes clear that every single person at the party has something to hide. A mother who’ll do anything for her daughters. Best friends with dark secrets between them. A sister with a jealous streak. What if one of them is a killer? And what if this is just the first victim?
The Step Child is by Nicole Trope. Three-year-old Millie Everleigh disappears on a crisp winter’s day, and nothing is as it seems… It’s the phone call every mother dreads. I’m climbing into the car after a trip to the grocery store. As the engine starts, my phone rings. It’s my stepdaughter, Shelby, who is babysitting my three-year-old little girl Millie. ‘I only went upstairs for a second,’ she says through her sobs. ‘She’s gone.’ I race home to find my blue-eyed baby girl missing, and my heart ripped out of my chest. When the police turn up, Shelby’s story starts to unravel. What is she hiding? Then I get a message saying, ‘Your husband is not who you think he is.’ Could he be lying? Suddenly, my family feel like strangers. Everyone has a secret – even me. No one knows why I was late coming back from the store, and the guilt I’ve been feeling ever since… Once the truth comes out, all of our lies exposed, will it be too late to save my precious child?
The Villa is by Clare Boyd. Nora thought two weeks in a stunning villa in the south of France would be the perfect treat for the family she adores. She pictured them tucking into buttery croissants every morning before long days lounging by the sparkling pool. It’s probably too much to hope that it might heal the rifts growing between them, but she can’t wait to count the freckles collecting on the kids’ innocent smiling faces and feel the warm Mediterranean Sea wash all her fears away. But Nora is nervous as she gathers everyone around the large oak table on the villa’s vine-covered terrace. Her daughters eye her suspiciously as she tops up her wine with a shaking hand and clears her throat to speak. The secret she’s about to tell will shatter their lives forever…
Join Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, daydreamer and amateur detective – in her quest to solve a brand-new murder mystery! Cornwall, 1956: When Flora Steele sets off for a peaceful vacation with crime writer Jack Carrington in his little red Austin, the last thing she expects to find is a body at their pretty rental cottage! Shocked by the discovery, inquisitive Flora joins forces with handsome Jack to find out how the poor man came to such an untimely end in the overgrown orchard of Primrose Cottage. They discover Roger Gifford was a man with plenty of friends and the villagers seem devastated by his sudden death… So why was he murdered? And who has blood on their hands – his estranged wife Beatrice, his wayward younger brother Lionel, or the suspicious newcomer Mercy Dearlove? The baffling case gets even more complicated when a second man is found dead and a set of puzzling clues lead them to an intriguing wartime mystery connected to Jack’s estranged father. As old secrets emerge and Jack receives an unsettling letter, it seems the crime writer is in danger of a fate befitting his fictional characters. Will Flora be able to crack the case and save Jack? Or will this be one murder too many for Flora Steele? Murder at Primrose Cottage is by Merryn Allingham.
After the Wedding is by Laura Elliot. Everyone said she was the prettiest flower girl. But now her dress lies on the floor. It’s wet and torn, her shoes are lost. ‘Tell us what happened to you?’ her daddy sobs. Christine shakes her head. All she can remember are the red rose petals scattering like drops of blood spilling to the ground. When Christine Lewis was a little girl, she witnessed something terrible at a wedding and buried it so deep in her memory, she managed to forget it ever happened. Years later, Jessica Newman walks into the successful advertising agency Christine runs with her husband. Jessica is beautiful and excellent at her job but her presence triggers disturbing memories for Christine. Fragments of the wedding are starting to flicker in her mind and an unexplainable ball of dread begins to form in Christine’s stomach. Jessica is slowly beginning to destroy Christine’s marriage and her business. Why can’t anyone else see it? Christine and Jessica’s lives were connected long before they set eyes on one another. But in unlocking the mystery of what happened at the wedding all those years ago, is Christine prepared for the truth she’s about to find?
The Family Holiday is by Shalini Boland. Two families. One house swap. A vacation to die for. The white-washed Italian villa is perfect. I thought it might feel odd, living in a stranger’s house for the summer, but as my husband and children swim in the infinity pool, I start to relax. And then, in the back of a wardrobe, I find something that shatters everything… Sparkling green eyes, square jaw, lopsided smile. A young man with his arm around a beautiful woman. The picture is old and faded but I’d recognise him anywhere. The man is my husband. But we’ve never met the family we’ve swapped homes with and my husband swears it isn’t him in the photo. He’s lying. We argue on the balcony with the sun setting behind us and I storm out. When I finally calm down enough to go back to the villa to confront him, I find his dead body sprawled across the veranda. Who killed my husband? Was our marriage a lie? And are my children now in terrible danger?
We should never have kept our father’s secret. Before, my sisters and I were close. Now, a year after our father’s funeral, we barely speak to each other. Molly won’t accept the truth. Rachel can’t forgive him. And I spend all my time digging through his life, trying to understand. Then we hear the news. A woman has been found by the docks, her wedding ring stolen. The reporter says it appears the local serial killer has returned… But I know that can’t be right, because I know who the killer was. Henry Martin. Our father. Someone is sending us a message. Someone knows we lied. Now my sisters and I must work together to find out who is targeting us. How do they know what we’ve hidden? What do they want? And what other secrets lie buried in the past, putting us all in danger? The Killer's Family is by Miranda Smith.